Driven to Murder A Graph Review
40, highpoints 50
by Paul Howard
£6.99 large format paperback pub: Peppermint Books 978 1909655034
A first novel, crime, featuring a detective and usual colleague linkages in his world, with murder being the starting and continuing theme.
As with many first books of new authors and new protagonists there was an initial ‘settling-in’ process of about 25 pages but thereafter the reading flowed pretty well and the story moved on at a good rate. Towards the end of the book I found I was reading quite enthusiatically and quite a neat ending worked well. As the blurb says, there are assorted deaths, possibly linked but also seemingly not; until the right connection is finally made.
The central character and those around him are somewhat stereo-typed but with the crime-fiction world so widely in the media it makes it difficult to create anew. There is a strength in the character of D.I. Reason and he retains his basic identity throughout with only a little development in personality by the end of the book. Similarly for other characters that look as though they could also appear in future stories. Plotting was good, mostly based around Eastbourne but several forays to other parts of the country and forces which provided a change in step at times.
All along we follow a steady investigative method. Each new problem issuing a challenge that had to be worked through. Pointers thrown out round Reason’s colleagues and bit-parts were picked up which fitted with scenarios and characters that a frequent crime reader has stuffed in his head. Some potential character developments were laid out by the very end of the book which with some good plot-lines could be explored.
Eastbourne and the South Coast held most of the scenery with communication ‘dashes’ to the North and South Wales. Press confrontations linked in with the ‘real world’ and italicised remarks from the killer broke into the flow but but served a purpose.
I quite enjoyed the overall read even if it had echoes of other characters and plots, it sped along quite nicely. There are only so many variations on a theme of straighforward crime-writing that are possible and I would say this author has taken a well trodden line with a promise of future development.
I have to moan about the number of words that lost a letter and one missing and another mis-spelt in the first half plus of the book. This may be the ‘trainspotter’ in me but if you are on the look out for clues in a crime novel then such errors are sore thumbs. An odd error is no surprise, so many can be annoying. Page layout was a little unusual with aslightly too much gap between lines and page footings. A little closer toproduction norms. for future books, please.
This is a self-published title so limited in-store availability but always available to order and of course via Amazon. The price is low for a book of this size.
A first crime novel? Yes. Would I read the next? Yes. In the expectation that character growth happened, good tempo and plotting remained and a more standard page layout.